This year we had to cut down an old pine tree that was more than 150 feet tall. It was a massive tree and we had it professionally cut down for safety reasons. The tree had been slowly dying over the last couple of years and we just couldn’t ignore the hazard any longer. However, the bounty of pine cones and wood slices from the branches inspired the theme of my Christmas tree this year and these DIY rustic Christmas ornaments.
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I have wanted to make wood slice rustic Christmas ornaments for a couple of years!
I have admired other blogger’s wood slice Christmas ornaments for years and was excited to finally paint a few of my own. But first, the prep work needed to be done before I could actually use the wood slices.
My husband took several of the pine tree branches and cut them in to 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick slices for me not knowing what I was going to make with them, he is just very good at assisting me with yet another request. Meanwhile, I did several searches on Pinterest and Google for methods to dry out and preserve the wood slices.
Bake the wood slices in the oven to prepare them for use.
What I ended up doing is baking the wood slices in a 200 degree oven for 2 hours, flipping the wood slices over half way through the process. I lined the baking pans with wax paper to keep the sap from sticking to my pans.
I could immediately tell a difference in the feel and dryness of the wood slices after they had been in the oven.
Using sandpaper and a belt sander, my husband and I sanded down each side of the wood slices until smooth. This provided a great canvas surface for the acrylic paints.
Over the next few weekends, and many Hallmark movie marathons, I painted and lettered different designs on the wood slices.
I even made a few of the wood slice ornaments for my white retro tree.
The pine cones I collected from the fallen tree have been used in several different ways this Christmas for my tree and mantel.
I made a snowball and pine cone garland for the tree and the mantel which will be included in another post. But they were such fun to make and so whimsical.
Rustic wood slice and pine cone ornaments.
Pine cones need to be treated to not only dry up the sap on them but to kill off any bugs and egg sacks that may be hiding in the cones. I use a method of soaking the pine cones for 3 to 4 days in a bleach and water solution. 1 cup bleach to 2 cups water. The cups and amounts vary depending on the size of my container and the amount of pine cones.
I then either lay out the pine cones on newspaper in the sun or bake them in a 200 degree over for 3 hours or until the pine cones open back up again. Baking pine cones soaked in bleach is rather smelly so I usually put them out side in the sun to dry out over a couple of days instead.
Instead of painting the pine cones for this ornament project, I decided instead to roll the cones in Sparkle Finish Modge Podge. This created a clear but glittery effect on the cones.
For both the wood slices and the pine cones, I used simple screw eye hooks for the hanger. I knew the pine wood was still soft enough to screw in the hooks, and wouldn’t split the wood like drying to drill holes in could do. Even after baking, the pine wood is much softer than other woods and I didn’t want to take a chance of the wood slices or the pine cones falling apart.
These ornaments were completed by adding rustic twine or colorful and decorative ribbon.
If you don’t have access to your own tree to cut down, you can order similar wood slices on Amazon.
Below are some of my other wood slice projects: